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Full text of "Third Annual Report of the Board of Visitors of the Kentucky Institution for the Education of the Blind"

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BRYCE M. PATTEN, Secretary. 


BRYCE M. PATTEN, Director. 

OTIS PATTEN, Teacher. 

JOSEPH B. SMITH, Teacher of Vocal Music. 

MRS. S. P. SPOONER, Matron. 




The Board of Visiters of the Kentucky Institution for the Erlucntion of 
the Blind, in compliance with the requisitions of the charter, respectfully 
present their 


The Institution is in a very prosperous condition, in all its departments, 
except its finances. 

The receipts of the Institution, for the year ending January 1, 1845, have 
arisen from the following sources; 

Balance in cash, from account of preceding year, - - $ 46 26 

Paying pupils, - - - - - - 279 00 

Proceeds of an Exhibition by the pupils, - - - 38 00 

Sales of articles manufactured by pupils, ... 336 98 
Individual donations, - - - - - - 37 2.5 

Appropriation by the State in 1844, .... 5,000 00 

Common School Fund, ..... 2,940 00 

$8,677 49 

The expenditures during the year, for house rent, repairs, fuel, 
provisions, furniture, stable expenses, raw materials, and 
tools for the work shops, musical instruments, school appara- 
tus, expenses of exhibition before the General Assembly, 
wages of servants and laborers, and salaries of officers, have 
amounted to .... ,$3,373 38 

Amount expended in the new building, - 4,994 22 

Insurance, - - - - - 34 00 

Call and interest on note given for lot of ground, 376 36 

$8,777 96 

Giving a balance against the Institution, - - - $ 103 47 

Of the ten thousand dollars appropriated out of the revenue of 

the Common School Fund, in 1842, there remains unpaid, 4,682 50 

Leaving a balance in favor of the Institution, - - $4,582 03 

Amouni carried forward, - - - $4,.582 03 


Amount brought forward, - - - $4,5S2 03 

In our last report, we stated that the Institution was indebted 
to the Bank of Louisville, $1,500, the amount expended in 
a lot of ground intended for the site of the buildings of the 
Institution; of this sum there remains unpaid, - - $1,200 00 

Giving a nominal balance in favor of the Institution, - - S3,3S2 03 

In conformity to an act of the General Assembly, approved February 29, 
1844, a building for the accommodation of the Institution, has been erected, 
and the above balance,. $3,382, has been pledged to finish it, it having been 
estimated that that amount will be required to complete it according to the 
design. From these statements, the members of the General Assembly will 
perceive the absolute necessity of making some provision for keeping the In- 
stitution in operation during the present year, as it is entirely destitute of 
the means of support. 

On the 10th day of April, 1844, in pursuance of an act of the General As- 
sembly, entitled, "an act to incorporate the Louisville and Portland Railroad 
Company," approved 2d March, 1844, the corporators named in said act, 
were duly organized and accepted of the charter, for the purposes therein 
mentioned. And on the 8lh January, 1845, the President and Secretary of 
said Board, made the following communication to the President and Visiters 
of the Kentucky Institution for the Education of the Blind, to-wit: 

"Louisville, Slk January 1845, 
The undersigned, a committee appointed by the President and Managers 
of the Louisville and Portland Railroad Company, make the following re- 
port of its condition and prospects: Immediately after the organization of 
the Board of Managers, in April, 1844, a thorough examination of the con- 
dition of said road was made. It was found that a large sum of money 
would be required to place the road in a condition to be at all beneficial to 
the Institution for the Blind; and it was, therefore, determined, to save from 
loss, with the least expense, whatever belonged to said road; this has been 
effected, thus far, by letting said road for the small sum of sixty dollars. We 
are of opinion that this cannot be longer done than April next. If we are 
right in this conjecture, then the iron rails must be taken up, and, together 
with the other apparatus, stored away, to protect them from loss, which 
will require an expenditure of money much larger than the sum received. 
Very respectfully, 

DAVID L. BEATTY, ) rnr.m^,u. 
Ctl. J. CLARKE, i 
To the President and Manageis of the Ky. Inst, for the Blinds 

The funds entrusted to the Board of Visiters hitherto, have, it is believed, 
been expended in the most judicious and economical manner, and valuable 
property has thus been secured to the State, at a cost much below its real 
value. The services of faithful officers have been obtained, and a flourish- 
ing school, which is an honor to the State, has been kept in operation, at very 
small expense; and we now commend ail the interests of the Institution to 
the representatives of a generous and enlightened people. 

The new edifice, though commodious and beautiful, has been built in the 
most economical manner, and on the most favorable terms, as all admit, who 

compare the cost of the work with the extent and character of it. The 
building is 96 feet in length, 50 feet in width, 3 stories high, and contains 
35 rooms, one of which is a hall for concerts, exhibitions, &c. Though com- 
plete in itself, it is, iu accordance with the directions of the^General Assem- 
bly, so constructed that it can hereafter be enlarged by the addition of one 
or two wings, should the increase in the number of pupils ever require it. 

We have twenty two pupils ; a number as large as the house now occupied 
will accommodate. In a few months, when the new buiding shall be ready 
for the reception of the pupils, we shall considerably increase the number, by 
receiving others who have already applied for admission, but who cannot be 
received at present, for want of room. It is greatly to be regretted that any 
applicants should be rejected, as out of about 9,000 white blind persons in 
the United States, less than 400 are now enjoying the blessings of instruc- 
tion in the various schools that have been established for their benefit. 

The health of our pupils has continued to improve from the opening of the 
Institution, in the year 1^42, to the present time ; they now generally enjoy 
good health, and it is very rarely necessary to call a physician. This is pe- 
culiarly gratifiying, as the blind are much more liable to disease than seeing 
persons, and most of our pupils enter the Institution with constitutions en- 
feebled by the inactive and irregular habits into which they have fallen, 
through the neglect or mistaken tenderness of their parents, or other persons 
to whose care they have been entrusted. The improvement in their health 
is to be ascribed, under Providence, to the healthy location of the In- 
stitution ; to the skill and attention of the attending physician ; to the clean- 
liness that is required of the pupils ; to their healthy diet; to the regularity 
in the hours of eating, study, labor, amusement, and repose, and more espe- 
cially, to the careful and judicious physical training which they receive. 
The officers of the Institution justly regard physical education as scarcely 
less valuable than intellectual culture ; and consequently, a considerable part 
of each day is devoted to gymnastic exercises in the open air, and to handi- 
craft in the shops. To the generous physicians in this city, who have offer- 
ed their services gratuitously, whenever the pupils need medical aid, we 
tender our grateful ackhowledgents. 

The progress of the pupils in their studies has been very satisfactory. 
Their improvement in reading affords us peculiar pleasure. From the course 
pursued with adult pupils in other similar Institutions, we were not prepared 
to expect that our older pupils would learn to read the embossed books with 
any facility ; but so great have been the efforts both of teachers and scholars, 
that all our pupils, with the exception of one little boy, who entered a few 
days since, can now read the Bible with considerable fluency. Long and 
painful efforts have, in several instances, been necessary to produce this 
pleasing result; and often have some of our pupils, notwithstanding their 
earnest desire to learn to read, been ready to yield to discouragement; but 
stimulated by their teachers, and by their own thirst for knowledge, they 
have returned to their books with increased resolution. The difficulties have 
been happily overcome, the Bible is no longer a sealed book to them, and 
nothing could now purchase from them the privilege of reading with their 
own fingers, that volume which brings to light the life of immortality. They 
justly prize the Bible very highly, for to the influence of its precepts are 
schools for the blind, and all other benevolent institutiorts, indebted for their 


We consider reading the most important branch to which the blind can 
attend ; as it not only aftbrds them, while at school, profitable and 
interesling occupation for many leisure hours that would otherwise be mis- 
spent, but it will, more than any other branch, be a means of consolation 
and improvemeiU in their lonely habitations afier they leave the Institution. 
From the success that has hitherto attended the efforts of our teachers, we 
believe that if the same attention be given to the instruction of the blind in 
reading, that is usually devoted to the seeing, the progress of the former will 
generally be equal to that of the latter. 

Our thanks are due to the American Bible Society, for four copies of the 
Book of Psalms, and one copy of the entire Bible, presented to our indigent 
pupils during the last year. We have been prevented from purchasing 
books, by the low state of the funds of the Institution, and the above men- 
tioned donation was therefore peculiarly acceptable. 

In Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic, Algebra, Geography, English Grammar, 
Latin, &c. the pupils have made creditable proficiency. 

The hours of study and labor are arranged as follows : 

At 5 o'clock, A. M., the pupils rise and prepare for school. 

From.5j to 65, they read tlie embossed books. 
62 to 7|, Breakfast and recreation. 
?! to 8, Devotional exercises. 

8 to 9, All listen to the reading of History, news of the day, &c. 

9 to 10, Writing and Arithmetic. 

10 to 11, Vocal Music. 

11 to 12, Geography and English Language. 

12 to I, Algebra and Arithmetic. 1 
1 to 2j, Dinner and recreation. 

2^ to 5, Instrumental Music and Handicraft. 
5 to 7, Recreation and supper. 

7 to 7^, Vocal Music. 

72 to 8, Reading. At 8, the younger pupils retire to rest. 

8 to 92, The older pupils read, or prepare lessons for the ensuing 

day. At 92- they retire. 

At the end of every hour in the forenoon, there is a short recess. 

The object of education, however, is not the cultivation of the intel- 
tellect alone — it has to do with the moral powers. To cultivate the former 
is to place in the hands of the pupil a powerful instrument for good or for 
evil; to cultivate the latter is to enable him to use that instrument aright. 
Desirable as it is that the blind should possess well cultivated intellectual 
powers, it is vastly more important that they should become useful and hap- 
py inembers of society. The moral training of the pupils recpiires the most 
arduous and constant cfibrts on the part of the officers of the Institution. In 
the intellectual department, their duties are, for the most part, confined to 
.specified hours, and to j)arlicular subjects; but in cultivating the morals and 
affections of the pupils, their labors are unlimited and incessant. The extent 
and success of their efforts may be less apparent in this department than in 
any other, as they can be duly appreciated by those only who are aware of 
the cruel indulgence or unkind neglect which the blind too IVequently expe- 
rience at home; in consequence of which many of them enter the Institu- 
tion destitute of moral, as well as intellectual, culture. 

It gives us pleasure to slate that a great change has been effected; perni- 


cioijs habits have been eradicated, a love of learning has been aw.ikened, 
self-reliance and self-respect have been greatlv increased, conscience has 
been improved, and a regard for the Bible, as the standard of feeling and ac- 
tion, has been strengthened. In producing these ha[)py results, a course of 
lectures by the Director has had an important influence. 

In music, the improvement of the pupils has been great. They already 
perform many difficult pieces in a manner that would do credit to any choir 
in the city; and from the increased facilities we hope to atibrd them hereaf- 
ter, we may expect still more rapid progress during the present year. We 
have recently secured, in the department of Vocal Music, at very small ex- 
pense, the valuable services of Mr, Joseph B. Smith, a graduate of Harvard 
University, and formerly a pupil in the Institution for the Blind in Boston. 
He is a scientific musician, and ardently devoted to his profession, and hav- 
ing been blind from infancy, he is the better qualified to appreciate the diffi- 
culties of the blind, and to adapt his instructions to their peculiar wants. 

Music deserves a prominent place in every system of education, on ac- 
count of its happy influence on the moral and intellectual powers; but it is 
especially important in the education of the blind. Ilxcluded as they are 
from the enjoyments of visible beauty, many of their leisure hours must be 
dull indeed, unless they are taught to enliven them by music. Music is not, 
however, merely a source of amusement to the bhnd ; to many of them, at 
least, it offers the best means of gaining an honorable livelihood, as organists, 
as pianists, or as teachers of music. Our pupils take great interest in this 
branch, and ail, with one exception, receive instruction in it daily. They do 
not learn by rote, as some suppose, but become accurately acquainted with 
the principles and rules of the science. 

Several pianos, and an organ, are much needed in the Institution ; but / 
here too we have been deterred from purchasing, by the want of means. 
We trust the liberality of the Legislature will enable us to furnish the blind 
with all needed aid in this important branch, which more than any other, 
perhaps, offers them compensation for the loss of the blessings of vision. 

The progress of the pupils in handicraft has been highly creditable. The 
brushes, cushions, matresses, and fancy articles, manufactured by them, are 
greatly amired by visiters, and give general satisfaction to purchasers, to 
whom they are sold at low prices, in order to bring them into the market. 
The citizens of Louisville are learning, that by purcliasing the articles made 
by our pupils, they not only confer a favor on the blind, but make a good , 
bargain for themselves. The female pupils have been taught by Mrs. Spoon- 
er, the matron, to make many kinds of worsted articles, which are both beauti- 
ful and useful, and it is believed that the profits from this kind of work will here- 
after be large, and that many of the girls will be able to support themselves by 
it after they leave the Institution. The females also prepare the covers for 
the cushions and matresses, besides doing much of the plain sewing for the In- 
stitution. In the various kinds of handicraft, our pupils, with few excep- 
tions, feel much interest, and regard the mechanical operations as a pleas- 
ant and valuable part of the regular school exercises ; and, while engaged in 
them, they often enliven their labors with sprightly conversation, and some- 
times, when the nature of the work will allow it, with singing. 'J'he more 
indolent boys at first manifested some repugnance to work, arising, in part, 
from the erroneous idea that manual labor has something of degradation ne- 
cessarily associated with it. The officers have taken great pains to remove 


this mistaken notion ; and all the pupils are required to devote a portion of 
every day to exercises so essential to their present and future well-being; 
for while to many, tlie trades, thus acquired, will be the only means of sup- 
port, to all, the exercises in the shops are necessary, as a part of physical edu- 
cation. From the happy influence of this part of our system, we cannot 
but believe that schools for seeing pupils might, with great advantage, adopt 
a similar course with regard to manual labor. 

The profits arising from sales of articles manufactured by our pupils dur- 
ing the past year, have amounted to one hundred dollars. 

The Officers of the Ohio and Virginia Institutions for the Blind, will 
please accept our thanks for some beautiful specimens of brushes and worst- 
ed work, manufactured by their pupils. 

Mr. Patten, the Director of our Institution, during the present session of 
the General Assembly of Indiana, accepted an invitation to visit Indianapo- 
lis with some of the pupils, and gave exhibitions before the Legislature; and 
so great was the interest awakened, that an appropriation will probably be 
made for the support of the indigent blind children of that State. 

Exhibitions have also been given in New Albany, la., and in Covington, 
Maysville, Nicholasville, and Lexington, in this State, and much important 
information with respect to the wants and capabilities of the blind, has in 
this manner, been diffused among the people. It is desirable that the pu- 
pils should travel more extensively in Kentucky during the present year, 
and thus make known the munificence of the Legislature, and the character 
and privileges of the Institution to the remotest parts of the State. 

At a meeting of the Board of Visiters of the Kentucky Institution for the 
Blind, held on the 9th day of January, 1845, the above report was present- 
ed, read, and adopted. BRYCE M. PATTEN, 

Secretary of the Board of Visiters. 





The Board shall, at every monthly meeting, designate one of its members to visit the Institu- 
tion every week of the ensuing month, examine the S^chool and Boarding House, ascertain the 
conditioa and progress of the same, and report at the next regular meeting of the Board. 


The Institution shall be under the charge of a Director, who shall reside in the house with the 
pupils, and direct their studies, labor, and recreation. He snail report weekly to the Visiter 
api)ointed for that pui"pose, the state and progress of the !?chool, and make, fioni time to time, 
such suggestions as he may think the interests of the Institution require. 

The teachers, matron, and all subordinate officers, shall be under the general supervision of 
the Director. 


The Matron shall, under the direction of the Director, have charge of the domeslic concerns 
of the Institution. She shall superintend the clothing of the pupils, and endeavor to promote 
their health, morals, and happiness; and co-opeiate with the Director and Teacheis in tueirgov-- 
ernment and education. 


Reading, Spelling, Writing, Geography, English Granimnr, Arithmetic, the higher branche.-! 
of Mathematics, Ancient and Modern Languages, Vncal and Instrumental Music, and other- 
branches of learning usually taught in Academies for seeing children. 


For board, washing, tuition, music, books, and stationery, ^100 per year. Payments to be 
made quarterly ia advance. 


No person can be admitted as a pupil, who is under six or over fifteen years of age, unless by 
special vote of the Board of Visiters. Cnndiriales lor admission must jircscnt certificates from 
some respectable physician, of incurable blindness, and of fVeeriom from epileppy and all offensive 
and infectious diseases. They must also bring satisfactory testimonials of unexceptionable moral 

The male pupils must be provided with at least five sliirfs, two vests, two coats or jackets, two 
pairs of pantaloons, six pairs of socks or stockings, |wo stocks or cravats, Ibui pocket handker- 
chiefs, two pairs of boots orshoes, all in good condition. 

The female pupils must be provifleJ with ni least three chanses of garment. All the articles of 
clothing must be marked with the name of the owner. The clothing must be renewed by the- 
parents or friends of the pupils, from time to time, as may be necessary. 


Indigent children, resident in the State, may bo received, anci educated at the expense of the 
Institution. In addition to the above rpf|uircmenfs, they must produce certificates from some 
magistrate or other known respectable citizen, that they are inhabitauts of the Sfatc of Ken- 
tucky, and that their parents and immediate relatives are unable to defray the expenses of their 


The expenses of traveling and clothiftg must, in all cases, be paid by the friends of the pupili, 
as the Institution has no funds for these purposes. 

N. B. In every case of application for the admissfon of a pupil into the Institution, answers 
must be made in writing to the following questions: 

1. What is the name of the applicant? 

2. When and where born? 

3. What are the names of the parents? 

4. Are they living? 

5. What is the name of the Post Office nearest to their residence? 

6. What are the pecuniary circumstances ot the parents and relations? 

7. Is the blindness total? 

8. If not, what degree of vision remains? 

9. How was the blindness produced? 

10. Is the applicant of good natural capacity, and free from bodily defects, and offensive and 

infectious diseases? 

4 11. Are there other instances of blindness in the same family, or among their relations? 

■Ql^yK^ommunications respecting pupils or the Institution, may be addressed to "Bryck M* 
Patten, Director of the Kentucky Institution for the Education of the Blind, Louisville, Ky." 
and letters must be post paid. 

(t^The Institution is open to the public from 10 to 12 o'clock, every Saturday morning. 

The new building is located on Broadway, between First and Second Streets.